The decision to disallow Manchester City’s late goal against Tottenham was correct, Dermot Gallagher said on the latest Ref Watch.
It is only the second weekend of the Premier League season and VAR is already making its presence felt, with more incidents for Gallagher to analyse and explain.
- Premier League reports and highlights
- Premier League hits and misses
Read on to see what he said about some of the big refereeing moments of the weekend…
Man City 2-2 Tottenham
INCIDENT: With the score 2-2, Gabriel Jesus thought he had scored the winning goal in the 93rd minute. However, after a VAR review, the goal was ruled out as the ball touched the arm of Aymeric Laporte on the way through, much to the dismay of the home contingent.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision.
The question of handball
Though Laporte’s handball looked accidental, under rules introduced on June 1 by IFAB, any goal created by an accidental handball is to be disallowed. Therefore, the VAR decision was correct.
DERMOT SAYS: “As much as people debate, yes it is [the right decision], because you see that it strikes Laporte’s arm. The minute that happens, it can’t be a goal and for two weeks running, VAR has picked that up post-decision and it is given correctly.
“We saw three handball goals in the Premier League last year – Willy Boly [against Man City], Sergio Aguero [against Arsenal] and Nathan Redmond [against West Ham] – and everybody thought that it wasn’t acceptable. Everybody had this notion that you can’t have a goal scored by the hand or the arm so the law was brought into place by IFAB (International Football Association Board) for the start of the season.
“Unfortunately, over the last two weeks, I view it as a consequence of the decision. It was made in good spirit and for the right reasons and I don’t understand what the confusion is because the rule is quite clear. It might not be what we like but it is quite clear. It is there for the rest of the season because they will never change mid-season but it is consistent. It’s not longer a matter of opinion or subjective. The referee each week will make the same decision.”
- Should City ‘winner’ have been ruled out?
- Supplement: Is VAR working for the PL?
INCIDENT: Earlier in the game, Erik Lamela bundled Rodri over in the box, with the Man City midfielder falling to the floor. Referee Michael Oliver did not give a penalty and the decision was not reviewed by VAR.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct use of VAR process.
DERMOT SAYS: “At the time, I wasn’t convinced that it was a penalty. The more I see it, the more I’m leaning towards it being one. The dilemma there is that the referee didn’t think it was a penalty and he would have fed to the VAR team what he had seen and why he’s come to that conclusion. The dilemma is not whether it is a penalty or not, it is that VAR cannot do anything about it.
“Of the two incidents, one is factual and the other is subjective. That’s the problem. In a subjective decision, you are always going to have this gap where one person thinks one thing and another person thinks something different. On the day, the referee didn’t think it was a penalty and the VAR didn’t think it was a penalty so he fed to the referee that he should play on, which is what they did.”
Brighton 1-1 West Ham
INCIDENT: Leandro Trossard thought he had given Brighton the lead early on when he fired a wonderful volley past Lukasz Fabianski, but as the goal was being checked, Dan Burn was offside in the build-up and the goal was ruled out.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision.
DERMOT SAYS: “From the free-kick, Dan Burn was offside and it got played over his head. At that point, he’s not interfering with play because he hasn’t touched the ball. But because it doesn’t get touched by another Brighton player, Burn then follows the ball and the minute he touches it, it is given as offside. It is very difficult to detect and it was picked up by VAR.”
Arsenal 2-1 Burnley
INCIDENT: After the defeat to Arsenal, Sean Dyche was critical of the FA rules regarding simulation, saying: “The game is in a terrible state in regards to blatant acts of cheating.” However, he did stress his views were not related to Arsenal, but the game as a whole.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: The rules are unlikely to change this season.
DERMOT SAYS: “The rules are tighter because in the past, we never had yellow cards for simulation and now you do. It is what it is and the referee can’t do anything about that. The referee goes out there to apply the rules as they are set out and at the moment, if a player dives – as people call it – it’s simulation and he gets a yellow card if it’s identified. If he gets a penalty and profits from it, he’ll get a two-match ban – that’s how it’s set up, that’s what the referee has got in his armoury and that’s what he has to use.
“The FA feel it’s enough at the moment. If people feel strongly enough about it, they may think about changing it or consider a different approach, but at the moment, that’s where we are.”
Chelsea 1-1 Leicester
INCIDENT: “Graham Scott was the designated referee for the game at Stamford Bridge, but could not make the warm-up as he was stuck in traffic. Fourth official Oliver Langford took his place for his first Premier League game, while Scott arrived in time to take up the fourth official role.”